Thursday, January 31, 2008

From Humble Origins to Humble Pie: the facts on my 'Crosman' BB gun

A big thank you to everyone who followed my three-part saga on My Humble Origins. Shortly after posting the second installment of the tale, a reader asked me this simple question about my BB gun:

"What is the Brand/model of your '$5 Garage Sale Special'?"

I suddenly realized that since I had bought it at a garage sale so many years ago, and hadn't shot it since the original rat incident, I wasn't really certain about the specifics. Which is so silly, I mean how could I not know exactly what it is, especially when I'm writing about it on an air gun blog!? I bought the gun all those years ago because of its resemblance to a Crosman air rifle I had when I was a kid. So without ever bothering to investigate further (or at least without remembering if I had ever done so), I naively assumed this gun was a Crosman as well. So I went home that night to look at the gun again.

It took me about 5 minutes of looking before I found (in plain site, of course) the brand and model of the gun. It's not even a Crosman! It's a Daisy model 840 -- what is currently called the Grizzly. So much for the fact-checking department on this blog.

A little further research revealed this model of gun has been in production since the late 70's. The reader who asked the original question found it listed in the 6th Edition of the Blue Book of Airguns:

"Model 840 - BB/.175, or .177 cal., SSP, Mfg. 1978-89."

As for their grading system, which would be hard to describe (for me anyway), in a nutshell:
100% (all original, "perfect condition in every respect") $75
95% (all original, near new condition, very little use, very minor dings/scratches...) $60
90% (all original, perfect working condition, some minor wear) $40
below that, it is listed as "NA" for estimated values. The less rust, scratches, dings the better.

Fascinating! Given it's condition, I think my gun falls firmly into the "NA" category, but it was really cool to finally learn more about it. My online hunt also led me to a print ad (which was for sale on Ebay) for my exact gun.

This ad from 1978 features the great Johnny Unitas

And the revelations kept rolling in. Unlike the Crosman I had mistaken it for, my gun is not a multi-pump at all! Rather, the 840 is a single-pump. And apparently, when you pump it a second time, all you are doing is taking most of the air from your 1st pump back out of the gun. So every time I was pumping it to 10, it was essentially shooting with almost no air. Man do I feel like a real dope. No wonder the rat was barely phased by that BB -- I probably could have thrown it faster than that gun was propelling it.

As you'd expect in a youth BB gun, it was never intended to be a powerful rifle. The Daisy ad says it will shoot a BB at 320 feet per second - which is a meager muzzle energy of 1.16 foot pounds. That is far, far below the level needed to humanely dispatch a rat, especially at distance. Now I know better.

Once the weather clears up, I need to take the 840 out back and try it again with the single pump it was intended for, just to see how it performs. After all the bad things I said about it, I owe it that much at least.


TSBrat2002 said...

"in plain sight"

That is like the NEF Pardner Pump I recently looked at. It had a camouflage pattern adorning it, and I had to look twice, and found the "Made in China" stamp on the left hand side of the receiver. That camouflage pattern was effective in hiding it's origins.
Don't forget to give your rifle a little drop of oil to help the compression.

TSBrat2002 said...

Hey, I was at a Flea Market this past weekend, making my rounds and one of the fella's had one of the newer Daisy Grizzly's (with the camo pattern), like yours, sitting in front of him. Wanted $30 for it. I checked at the local Wally-World, $38 there. If I pass his way again, might be tempted to to hold up a $5 bill and offer it for the rifle! He's of the "mine's more valuable than yours" type... LOL